FOOD GLOSSARY - Au Gratin to Baked Alaska

AU GRATIN (French):  This refers to the thin crust that forms on top when foods, usually creamed or moistened with eggs, milk, or stock, are baked or broiled. The dish should be topped with a sprinkling of buttered bread-crumbs and/or cheese, though this is not always done.

AU JUS (French):  With juice, that is, served with the natural juice or gravy from roast beef or poultry.

AU LAIT (French):  Beverages made and served with milk. Coffee, for example.

AU NATUREL (French):  Foods that are plainly cooked or else served in their natural state.

AU VIN BLANC (French):  Made or served in or with white wine.

AVOCADO (Also called alligator pear.):  A pear-shaped tropical fruit native to Mexico and Northern South America and now extensively grown in other countries. The fruit is yellowish green to purplish black with a single large seed embedded in a firm, buttery yellowish flesh. It varies greatly in size, ranging from 8 ounces to 4 pounds in weight. It contains from 10 to 20 percent fat. It is usually eaten raw with salt, pepper, and lemon juice or a salad dressing. Calavo is well-known trade name for avocados grown in California.

BABA (French):  A light yeast-raised cake often containing fruit or flavored with fruit juices. Before serving, it may be soaked with rum or a substitute, then called baba au rhum.

BAGEL:  A variety of bread roll, made of yeast dough formed into a small-doughnut shape with a hole in the center, cooked in simmering water, and then baked in the oven. It's an old-time Jewish roll.

BAIN MARIE:  French term for water bath cooker or double boiler, as we call it. The chafing dish compartment that holds water is the bain marie.

BAKE:  To cook by dry heat, usually in an oven or ovenlike appliance. As modern recipes use it, "bake" simply means to cook in the oven. When applied to certain meats in uncovered containers, it's generally called roasting. A recipe should tell you the kind and size of pan; whether the dish should be baked with or without a cover; the temperature, and baking time or similar way to determine when the dish is done. See also Roast.

BAKED ALASKA:  A cake layer topped with firm ice cream, completely covered with meringue, then delicately browned in a very hot oven.

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